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OVF and vApps in Action!

The vSphere 4.0 release provides full support for the OVF
1.0 specification. This is a major upgrade compared to the OVF features
that existed in VirtualCenter 2.5 and ESX 3.5, which were based on the
preliminary OVF 0.9 specification and only included import and export
of single VMs. The new features include:

  • vApps – managing multi-tiered applications as a first-class entities in vCenter
  • A data-driven OVF Deployment Wizard to greatly simplify installation and configuration of complex software.
  • Customizable URL links in the VMware vSphere client and automatic IP allocation.
  • Optimized packaging– you can distribute your packages as a single file and use delta-disk hierarchies to reduce download size.

is quite a lot of stuff to cover in a single blog entry, so I am not
even going to try. Instead, I have included a video showing the
data-driven OVF deployment wizard in action. It shows how a vSphere
user deploys, customizes and gets a complex multi-tiered CRM system up
and running in a few simple clicks and without ever have to interact
with a VM console at all. The CRM system OVF package has been optimized
to take advantage of the new OVF features in vSphere 4.0, including
application-level customization, automatic IP assignments, delta-disk
compression, deployment-time configurations, and vSphere Client URL
integration. In this blog, we will follow up with a series of articles
that describes these features in details and how they can be used in
practice. Fortunately, it turns out that most of them are really
straight-forward to use (and require none to very little guest
modification :).